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A councillor has called for people to stop buying medium and big dogs. You can watch him explain his position here:
Yes, in a world desperately devoid of joy at the moment, Cllr Mark Howell - an independent member for Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council - urged people to think about 'scaling down' their dogs, or not getting pets altogether.
While they undeniably bring us love and companionship, which has been invaluable for many during the pandemic, Cllr Howell said they could actually be doing more harm than good in the long term.
Speaking in the wake of a council meeting about environmental issues and the local authority's target of meeting net zero carbon emissions by 2050, he said pets are the 'elephant in the room' (though more often, they're the dog or cat in the room).
He said in a video shared on Facebook: "It is a really serious issue that politicians don’t appear to be prepared to raise, understandably they are afraid of the backlash but it is important.
"It is estimated that globally pets consume 20 percent of the world's meat and fish. A medium sized dog has the same emissions effect as a Toyota Landcruiser, in fact some estimates say it is twice as much.
"I have had a lot of criticism about this, but I think it is important to say that we all bear personal responsibility for reducing our carbon emissions."
He continued: "I am not saying we should to ban or exterminate dogs but what I am saying is that people need to think carefully when their animals pass away, whether they need to replace them or scale down the size of their pets.
"Perhaps whether they need to share pets, whether they need the support of their own pet or can can get enjoyment and contentment from other people's animals.
"The main issue with animals is the methane they produce and the consumption of meat and that leads a different issue about the amount of pollutants and loss of forests in other parts of the world that is taking place simply to feed pets."
Of course, this is hardly a vote-winning stance, but invariably measures designed to curb environmental damage involve an unappealing degree of sacrifice.
Bill Lambert - health, welfare and breeder services executive at The Kennel Club - is among those who was unimpressed by his comments.
He said: "We are surprised at the comments made by Councillor Mark Howell regarding dogs and their effect on our carbon footprint.
"While dogs, as any animal, can have an effect on our environment we must also take into effect the very positive influence dogs have on our lives.
"As any dog owner will testify, dogs are part of our family. They provide companionship, loyalty not to mention the many positive mental and physical health benefits they give.
"Many medium and large size breeds are used as assistance, support, medical detection and police dogs.
"To attempt to eliminate these dogs would be severely detrimental to the society in which we live."
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